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I have a laptop with Xubuntu 13.10 and to the right of the laptop is a monitor located.

The monitor is the primary: I set the option "Primary" in the settings editor (http://www.ubuntubuzz.com/2011/12/how-to-dual-monitor-setup-on-xfce.html) and I use this setting: xrandr --output HDMI1 --primary --right-of LVDS1 (HDMI1 is the monitor as you might have guessed)

Most of the dual-monitor-setup is fine: My menu-borders appear on the monitor and all programs also start on the monitor.

My problem are the desktop-icons: When I save a new file (e.g. an image in the browser) to the desktop, it appears on the far left of the laptop and I have to drag it on the monitor.

And when I rename an icon, that is on the monitor, it jumps to the far left side of the laptop.

And what's even more annoying: Every two or three days (must be some kind of race-condition) when I start the laptop the icons which are carefully arranged on the monitor appear all on the left side of the laptop in one vertical line and I have to drag them back and re-arrange them.

Is there another option/ setting where I can set which is the primary monitor, so that the desktop-icons also realize where they are supposed to appear? How can I prevent the random icon-moving at the start of the system?

  • Also if you select "arrange icons" from right click desktop menu they will appear on the left monitor. Expecting icons are placed first on main monitor ("Display settings" checkbox). – Serge Jan 6 '17 at 16:42
  • I have exact same problem on my Ubuntu 18.04. Have you found a solution to this, @nyx? – jedi Jan 29 at 19:22
  • sadly, no :( At some point I just stopped using desktop icons, because it was too annoying. – nyx Feb 5 at 20:23
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In extended desktop mode, the computer sees multiple monitors as a single large desktop. If your window manager places desktop icons on the left, then they will jump to the far left-hand monitor.

However, if you use KDE as your desktop manager/window manager, you can use "FolderView" as your desktop setting. This way, you can arrange icons exactly as you wish on either monitor and they will stay put.

I have tried most of the major desktop environments, including Cinnamon, Gnome 2, Gnome Classic (Gnome-Session-Fallback), Gnome 3, KDE, LXDE, MATE, Unity, and Xfce. Among these, KDE is the only one I have tried that enables me to use my right-hand monitor as the primary display while also keeping my desktop icons on the right-hand display.

If you want to stay with Xfce, a workaround I have used in that desktop environment is to install screenlets and use the folderview screenlet to put a window on my right-hand monitor that is set to the Desktop folder. This way, I can see the icons that are on the far-left in the screenlet window. With this screenlet, I can also open, copy, paste, or delete files that appear in the Desktop folder.

1

I wrote iconic to solve this problem and others. It will:

  • Allow you to move icons to any of three monitors
  • Not suffer the "lost icon syndrome" that occurs when monitors of multiple resolutions are used
  • Sort icons alphabetically, alphabetically with "Link to" prefix ignored, sort by modified date ascending or date descending
  • Allow different grid size (columns x rows) depending on monitor, EG more on 4K monitor than 2K monitor
  • Instant Test button for quick experimentation on column x row changes or reserved space changes for monitor left, top, right or bottom areas
  • Test button will last for x seconds defined by you, clear all windows before test and restore them after test
  • Bash script for easy modifications

You can get the script on github.

Here's the main screen:

iconic main menu.png

Visit the github page for iconic to see all the other screens, explanations and a copy of the script.

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